Ep 96: Why CRNAs Need to Understand the Judicial System

When you think about your future as a CRNA, you likely to see court playing any part in it. But as nurses are included more and more in lawsuits, there’s a chance you could end up in front of a judge. The best way to be prepared is by understanding the legal process and your role in a trial. Judge April Wood brings nearly 20 years experience on the bench and will share what she knows on the show today. 

Click the timestamps below to help you navigate through the many topics we discussed.

On This Episode:

If you’re in the healthcare industry long enough, there’s a good chance you or someone you know will get called into the courtroom. It’s an unfortunate reality for many people, and it’s made worse by our lack of preparation.

That’s what we want to help change on this episode of Beyond the Mask. We’ve known Judge April Wood for years and have enjoyed many conversations about the legal process during that time. We’ve learned a lot from her and want to help bring some of that insight to the podcast so that you’ll have a better understanding of the judicial system. 

Our guest today has served as a district court judge in North Carolina since 2002. The majority of the cases she handles that involve children and families. In that role, she hears a lot of testimony from doctors and nurses on a regular basis and that’s what her and Sharon started talking about quite a bit.

In addition to that, SRNAs are now being taught how to behave in the courtroom, which is important because CRNAs are getting pulled into lawsuits more often. Sharon has seen it first hand and that’s why we feel it’s important to have this conversation today.

Beyond how our profession is directly impacted, we will also talk about how judges are elected and find out more about Wood’s campaign for the North Carolina Court of Appeals. It’s each of our responsibilities to do the homework and then make sure you actually vote on the judges in your regions. Too often those positions get ignored on the ballot or get chosen for the wrong reasons. Judge Wood tells a story about one person that voted for her based on the move Legally Blonde. That actually happened.

So let’s get the show started. Here are some of the other topics we will cover on the show:

  • Background on her career as a District Court Judge
  • Non-verbal communication
  • Why you need to pay attention to what you wear.
  • She’s running for Court of Appeals
  • The election process for judges
  • Reason that Supreme Court is a lifetime appointment

Check it out the interview at the top of the page and use the timestamps to help you navigate through the many topics we discussed.

[2:43] – Introducing our guest, Judge April Wood. Sharon tells the story of how they got to know each other well.

[5:00] – Background on her career

[8:30] – What does a judge look for when someone is testifying 

[9:29] – Know what you’re talking about

[12:28] – How should you dress in court?

[14:40] – Be aware of judiciary 

[18:27] – The process of becoming a judge.

[22:11] – Current campaigns   

[24:46] – What is merit selection? 

[26:47] – How many people voted actually voted on judges last time?

[30:53] – Why is Supreme Court a lifetime appointment?

[33:15] – What we want to get across to CRNAs

[35:08] – How to learn more about Judge Wood

[38:31] – Final thoughts from our guest.


“The longer I’m in politics, the longer I’m in policy making, the more convinced I become that nurses are critical to be in all of the rooms where decisions are made.”

-NC House Representative Gale Adcock

Share this episode with a friend: